Healthcare professionals’ perceptions of the implementation of the transitional discharge model for community integration of psychiatric clients
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Research has demonstrated the benefits of mental healthcare interventions that ensure a safe transition of clients throughout the discharge and community integration process. This paper reports on qualitative data from focus groups with health professionals collected as part of a larger a mixed method study designed to examine the effectiveness and sustainability of implementing the transitional discharge model. Data collection involved two sets of focus groups, which were held at six months and one-year post-implementation. There were 216 health professional participants from nine (9) hospitals across the Province of Ontario, Canada. Data analysis used a four-step ethnographic framework by Leininger (1985) to identify descriptors and recurrent and major themes. The study identified four major themes, including healthcare professionals' roles and positive experiences in implementing the transitional discharge model; perceived benefits of the model; challenges to implementing the model; and suggestions for sustaining the model's implementation. Healthcare professionals felt that the implementation of the transitional discharge model has the potential for increasing their awareness of the process of clients' integration, serving as a framework for discharge planning, and reducing hospital readmissions. The study findings may provide healthcare providers with information on pragmatic ways to plan clients' discharge, to bridge the gap between hospital and community care, and to positively impact client health outcomes.
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